Theos-World The Key to Theosophy - section 1-2
Aug 07, 2008 10:16 AM
by Morten Nymann Olesen
To all readers
My views are:
Chapter 1 - 2
Here is the second e-mail of a series about The Key to Theosophy.
I am using the ULT version from 1889.
The Key to Theosophy
THE POLICY OF THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY
ENQUIRER. In the days of Ammonius there were several ancient great religions, and numerous were the sects in Egypt and Palestine alone. How could he reconcile them?
THEOSOPHIST. By doing that which we again try to do now. The Neo-Platonists were a large body, and belonged to various religious philosophies*; so do our Theosophists. In those days, the Jew Aristobulus affirmed that the ethics of Aristotle represented
* It was under Philadelphus that Judaism established itself in Alexandria, and forthwith the Hellenic teachers became the dangerous rivals of the College of Rabbis of Babylon. As the author of "Eclectic Philosophy" very pertinently remarks: "The Buddhistic, Vedantic, and Magian systems were expounded along with the philosophies of Greece at that period. It was not wonderful that thoughtful men supposed that the strife of words ought to cease, and considered it possible to extract one harmonious system from these various teachings. . . . Panaenus, Athenagoras, and Clement were thoroughly instructed in Platonic philosophy, and comprehended its essential unity with the Oriental systems."
the esoteric teachings of the Law of Moses; Philo Judæus endeavoured to reconcile the Pentateuch with the Pythagorean and Platonic philosophy; and Josephus proved that the Essenes of Carmel were simply the copyists and followers of the Egyptian Therapeutæ (the healers). So it is in our day. We can show the line of descent of every Christian religion, as of every, even the smallest, sect. The latter are the minor twigs or shoots grown on the larger branches; but shoots and branches spring from the same trunk―the WISDOM-RELIGION. To prove this was the aim of Ammonius, who endeavoured to induce Gentiles and Christians, Jews and Idolaters, to lay aside their contentions and strifes, remembering only that they were all in possession of the same truth under various vestments, and were all the children of a common mother. * This is the aim of Theosophy likewise.
ENQUIRER. What are your authorities for saying this of the ancient Theosophists of Alexandria?
* Says Mosheim of Ammonius: "Conceiving that not only the philosophers of Greece, but also all those of the different barbarian nations, were perfectly in unison with each other with regard to every essential point, he made it his business so to expound the thousand tenets of all these various sects as to show they had all originated from one and the same source, and tended all to one and the same end." If the writer on Ammonius in the Edinburgh Encyclopoedia knows what he is talking about, then he describes the modern Theosophists, their beliefs, and their work, for he says, speaking of the Theodidaktos: "He adopted the doctrines which were received in Egypt (the esoteric were those of India) concerning the Universe and the Deity, considered as constituting one great whole; concerning the eternity of the world . . . and established a system of moral discipline which allowed the people in general to live according to the laws of their country and the dictates of nature, but required the wise to exalt their mind by contemplation."
THEOSOPHIST. An almost countless number of well-known writers. Mosheim, one of them, says that:―
"Ammonius taught that the religion of the multitude went hand-in-hand with philosophy, and with her had shared the fate of being by degrees corrupted and obscured with mere human conceits, superstitions, and lies; that it ought, therefore, to be brought back to its original purity by purging it of this dross and expounding it upon philosophical principles; and the whole Christ had in view was to reinstate and restore to its primitive integrity the wisdom of the ancients; to reduce within bounds the universally-prevailing dominion of superstition; and in part to correct, and in part to exterminate the various errors that had found their way into the different popular religions."
This, again, is precisely what the modern Theosophists say. Only while the great Philaletheian was supported and helped in the policy he pursued by two Church Fathers, Clement and Athenagoras, by all the learned Rabbis of the Synagogue, the Academy and the Groves, and while he taught a common doctrine for all, we, his followers on the same line, receive no recognition, but, on the contrary, are abused and persecuted. People 1,500 years ago are thus shown to have been more tolerant than they are in this enlightened century.
ENQUIRER. Was he encouraged and supported by the Church because, notwithstanding his heresies, Ammonius taught Christianity and was a Christian?
THEOSOPHIST. Not at all. He was born a Christian, but never accepted Church Christianity. As said of him by the same writer:
"He had but to propound his instructions according to the ancient pillars of Hermes, which Plato and Pythagoras knew before, and from them constituted their philosophy. Finding the same in the prologue of the Gospel according to St. John, he very properly supposed that the
purpose of Jesus was to restore the great doctrine of wisdom in its primitive integrity. The narratives of the Bible and the stories of the gods he considered to be allegories illustrative of the truth, or else fables to be rejected." Moreover, as says the Edinburgh Encyclopœdia, "he acknowledged that Jesus Christ was an excellent man and the 'friend of God,' but alleged that it was not his design entirely to abolish the worship of demons (gods), and that his only intention was to purify the ancient religion."
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